GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley & Ron Johnson Deny Spreading Russian Propaganda In Biden Senate Investigation
Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) denied allegations that they are using or promoting Russian disinformation in their investigation targeting presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
The two said they have “neither sought out, relied upon, nor publicly released anything that could even remotely be considered disinformation” through the course of their probe.
“It is certainly our goal to eradicate foreign influence from our elections,” Johnson and Grassley wrote in a letter addressed to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), Senate Intelligence Vice Chair Mark Warner (D-Virginia) and House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-California). “But your use of this issue to knowingly and recklessly promote false narratives for political purposes is completely contrary to that goal.”
The letter comes amid continued investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. A report by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller confirmed Russia had meddled, but did not find sufficient evidence to prove the Trump campaign colluded with the country in any way.
However, additional evidence came to light during the impeachment inquiry last year, when a transcript of a phone call revealed that President Donald Trump had asked Russia’s president to “look into” Hunter Biden and his work at the Ukrainian gas company, Burisma Holdings.
Now, Democrats fear foreign entities are interfering in the 2020 election. Intelligence officials told House lawmakers last week that Russians are planning on surreptitiously supporting Trump’s reelection bid.
Although the public version of the letter was less clear about the potential threat of foreign interference, Politico reported that a classified addendum mentions Johnson’s investigation as a channel for “laundering” a foreign meddling campaign aimed at attacking Biden.
It was reported that the addendum states a Ukrainian lawmaker, Andrii Derkach, sent information about Biden to Grassley, Johnson and other Trump allies.
In their letter, Johnson and Grassley denied receiving information from Derkach in the letter, adding that they did not have access to the addendum until “late last week.”
“Your misplaced motives aside, the substance of your letter and addendum also grossly mischaracterizes our investigation in an effort to shoehorn it into the false ‘Russian disinformation’ narrative you have promoted for years,” the two Republicans wrote to the Democratic lawmakers. “Far from promoting Russian disinformation, our investigation is focused on uncovering the facts concerning what did and did not occur so that we can put these matters to rest.”